How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9
Did you know the Bible tells us to Eat God's Word!?
Look up Revelation Chapter 10 and check it out! But, perhaps this may be too much fiber for your diet, so here is a plan to get to know the Book of books, Gods' most precious Word, that is real and relevant for your life now and forever!
Talk Idea: How well do you know the Bible? Most Christians may say "fairly well," and most youth perhaps not at all. Even those who are leaders in their youth group! Maybe secretly, we may be in fear that others will find out that we do not know His Word so well after all. Many of us may rationalize it, fake it, or ignore it, but for some reason, we do not make the effort or exercise diligence to really get to know it. Perhaps, it is too much work for some; perhaps, the fear factor is too high and it is easier to say "yes, I know" (basically lie), than to actually get to know Christ and His Bible. Who am I talking about? Me…the guy who is a youth pastor. When I first stated out in ministry, I was very biblically illiterate and faked my way through it. But, I had some good mentors who called me on it, so I endeavored be more diligent and get to know the Bible, finding it was not so fearful and daunting as I thought. In fact, it was fun-and still is. But, many Christians and even some of us pastors are still in the dark about His Word. But you know what it is easy than most people think to get to know the Bible!
Now, I have to say up front that I did not end up knowing the Bible overnight; it took me many years-and I am still getting to know His Word. And, when I first entered into ministry I was lazy with the Bible, figuring it was more important to connect with the youth then learn His word or be a disciple or make disciples. But, I had not been to seminary yet or had years of experience and time under my belt as that pastor did. I came to a point that I had to own up to my frailty in Bible literacy, buckle down, and engage it. I leaned that it is important and relevant to my role as a youth pastor! And so it can be with you!
I do have to say, knowing the Bible will not come overnight or easily; it is a life-long process and journey, and it takes hard work. There are no shortcuts to any important endeavor, whether it is learning music, becoming a doctor, becoming a pastor, or any skilled vocation or hobby. Undertaking something important is serious; it is commitment and it is hard work. At the same time, I had great fears about attempting to know His Word. I felt I would not be able to do it, which is why I faked it. With my mentors encouragement and suggestions, I learned how to study and gather information. I learned a process that works and is even fun that anyone can use.
Gaining a Desire to Grasp God's Word
Open Question: How many people do you know (perhaps yourself) who feel that the Bible is boring or too difficult to understand?
Have you ever thought that holds you back is the work ethic involved. Well, perhaps if you are never going to teach and you just want to learn His percepts, you do not need all the tools; you just need His Word and a desire to pursue it on a regular basis. However, even those who pursue reading the Bible on a regular basis can get frustrated and discouraged, and thus give it up. We do not want this to happen to you. It has happened to me many times; Bible study can be wearing at times. That is why we need a few ideas, techniques, and/or accountability to keep us on track.
In Revelation 10:8-11, God asks a strange thing of John; he asks him to "Take it and eat it," as in, take God's Word and eat it! This refers to "grasping" as in taking food for pleasure and nourishment. However, before we can be nourished, we have to obtain it, and then we can eat and digest it. This applies to God's Word in that we have to get it, read it, understand it, and then apply it (Psalm 119:103).
But, if we really examine what He is saying, it is not so strange after all that we all must "eat" God's Word, the Bible. If we want a productive and purposeful Christian life, we have to get it in us first. Furthermore, before we can proclaim God message to others as a lifestyle or in words, it must be received, and it must convict and transform. Thus, to declare God's message so it can be heard by others, we have to have digested it. Before we can do that, we have to know it, as in know it before we live it-and before we give it. God told John to "eat" because he had to undergo conviction that was both bitter and sweet; it was bitter because of its news of suffering and conviction and sweet for its blessings of communion and restoration with God, as what we gain is so sweet. Thus, we may see another fear here, a fear of conviction, perhaps the reason so many of my colleagues do not get into His Word.
But he also says it is sweet, "sweet as honey," conveying to us God's goodness, grace, and mercy, and that through His Word, both written and Spirit-led, we have good news from God's promises and our communion with Him, through which we receive His instructions and the knowledge of His nature including His grace, mercy, and goodness (Psalm 19:10; 119:103; Ezek. 2:3). This happens when His Word becomes a greater part of us, affecting all we are and do. Yet, its positive sweetness is that it enhances and improves us beyond measure, and this is far, far greater that what we think we might lose. We can quickly forget its sweetness when all we see is what we think we lose rather than the bounty of what we gain (Rom. 12; Heb 4:12).
Conversely, we are called to heed God's Word, to cling to His precepts which are sweet, and take them seriously; this can be bitter as we must allow His conviction to remove what is in His way for our growth and betterment, and be pointed to His Worth and Glory. If not, there will be judgment from our own misdeeds, accumulating and implementing their way back to us, as well as opening us up to God's judgment (Num. 5:23-31; Prov. 5:3-4; 24:13-14; Rom. 1:18-32; Rev. 7:13-14).
Keep in mind there will have a cost that prevents us from getting into His Word! People do not want or like to be convicted of their sins. They would rather choose the sins that destroy them rather than choose the right and good path that blesses them. They may even refuse to acknowledge another and better way.
So, do you want to get into His Word? Does it still sound too scary? Fear not; the sweetness we have available to us is far greater than the sour we may encounter! Getting into God's Word has to do with the fact that God's Word must first transform and "affect" us before it can be used to have an "effect" on others.
1. The question for us is what blocks this from happening?
· Or What?
2. How can the Gospel be experienced and be impacting to you? How does reading and learning His Word play a role?
3. How can this help you with relationships with friends, parents, teachers and your studies?
4. What role does learning God's Word help you make an impact upon others?
As we feed on His Word, we grow from His precepts, and who we are and what we can be are significantly enhanced from His work in us; thus, our efforts to bring Him glory will, in turn, flourish. His Truth is the impact for whatever condition or situation we face. We must allow Christ to transform us as we digest His principles and apply them to our lives and faith so we can be used by our Lord to influence and affect others. Truth is bitter to those who do not like it and to those of us who need to be moved and challenged to make room for it in our mindsets and worldviews. Are His Word and precepts a part of you? If not, why not? For us to thrive as His children and His messengers, His Word must be a part of us-deeply and passionately! This means that to be an effectual Christian, we must walk in Christ and remain trusting and faithful with our confidence and submission to Him. If not, we are of no use to God or to others, and we become the noise of 1 Cor. 13:1, not the love of verses three and onward.
Allowing God's Word to transform and affect us before we engage more in the Christian life is essential, as to teach His precepts to others is paramount. God's Word is sweet as are His promises; however, it will be bitter when God's judgments commence; when we are in Him we do not need to worry, but, will He say "well done good and faithful servant" to you? What about if we ignore His Word, refuse to get in it, and just have all kinds of excuses while we watch junk on TV instead? God will deal with the sins of humanity, as he will deal with us with our unfaithfulness. Saved? Yes, perhaps; but as the book of James says, what good is it to know Him and not grow in Him or make Him known?
The Plan to Know His Word Better
So, do you want to know His Word better? Below are some ideas that I have learned and put into practice that have helped me greatly. This is not just for study, sermon preparation, or for a long, drawn out exegetical analysis. We have those too at Into Thy Word on our How to Study the Bible, Bible Study Aids and Bible Study Methods Channels, but this plan will help you prepare to walk with Christ more closely, And, if you are a leader, you can lead for His glory; if you are a pastor, you can teach his Word better, because you will know it better and even know who Caleb is and how we can be like Him too.
The Simplest Way to Learn the Bible!
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. Psalm 119:10
(This process would fall in the first steps of any exegetical or inductive approach.)
·The Basic "win-win" plan: If you just take a Bible book, any one, such as Matthew and read it every day for a month, you will know it beyond measure! Then, keep applying this approach to each Book, one at a time.
·The Basic "easy" plan: Listen to your book on tape or MP3 several times-as you drive, at a break when you get up, before you go to bed, as you shop, etc.
·The Basic "synergistic" Plan; Do Both! I have found this is the simplest, easiest way to learn and know the Bible!
Keep this in mind: The more you expose yourself to His Word, the more He will expose His Word to you! And, this can be done in less time than it takes to watch a half hour TV show! You will have far more knowledge of His Word and be more active and involved in our Lord than perhaps 90% of Christians who usually just "pew sit" and do nothing with their faith. What will you do?
© 1981, 2000, 2007R.J. Krejcir, Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/